More than 40 participants from 19 African countries benefited recently from a specially designed hands-on training course on best-bet integrated rice management (IRM) practices that are crucial to bridge yield gaps in farmers’ fields.
The course was organized by the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) at its Regional Center in Saint Louis, Senegal, with support from the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), which has been sponsoring the annual IRM training program since 2009.
“There is a desperate lack of trained capacity in rice R&D in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Dr Papa Abdoulaye Seck, AfricaRice Director General. “We are grateful to BADEA for supporting our capacity-building efforts to help create a new generation of rice research and extension professionals in the continent through quality and gender-balanced training.”
The 2012 IRM training course was targeted to rice researchers and extensionists, especially those who are linked to the activities of the Africa Rice Task Forces and Rice Sector Development Hubs. It was conducted in separate sessions for Anglophone and Francophone participants.
Combining practical experience with theoretical knowledge, the course comprised training modules on specific areas of IRM, including:
- Techniques for improving and increasing rice production through IRM
- Field preparation techniques
- Seed production, storage and distribution techniques
- Technology transfer and innovation techniques and participatory approaches
The course was mainly based on an innovative farmer learning tool developed over several years by AfricaRice– known as the Participatory Learning and Action Research for Integrated Rice Management (PLAR-IRM). It also used a series of learning videos developed by the Center.
“Our goal is to empower our trainees to play an active role in developing environmentally sustainable rice production systems in their countries,” said Dr Kabirou Ndiaye, AfricaRice Agronomist, who coordinated the 2012 IRM training program.
The participants reported that in addition to improving their knowledge and competence, which will help them to better target and serve the needs of their countries, the course also helped them to link with other colleagues.
The Head of the BADEA Technical Assistance Division Mr Mohamed El Aichouni and the AfricaRice Regional Representative in Senegal Dr Vincent Bado participated in the official ceremony of the handing over of certificates to the participants.
“As part of its mandate to strengthen the Arab-African cooperation and linkages, BADEA is pleased to support AfricaRice’s efforts to enhance national R&D systems in sub-Saharan Africa and ultimately improve the quality of life,” remarked Mr El Aichouni.